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UMass Lowell Graduates Put their Education to Work

River Hawks’ Professional Lives Take Flight

2019 Commencement tassels
Many UMass Lowell graduates from the Class of 2019 are already on the job in professions they love.


Contact: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or
LOWELL, Mass. – It’s a good time for UMass Lowell graduates to be entering the workforce. 

The national and state unemployment rates are at historic lows and for River Hawks, the future looks especially bright. Within six months of last year’s graduation, 96 percent of the Class of 2018 was either working or enrolled in graduate school.

River Hawks from the Class of 2019 are meeting with similar success. 

Business administration graduate Sean Flaherty of Lowell landed his “dream job” in corporate finance with Xylem Inc., a water sustainability company based in Rye Brook, N.Y., with locations in Gloucester and Woburn. Flaherty was one of four applicants from a pool of 180 to be accepted to the company’s new finance leadership development program.

“I wanted to work in environmental or green energy and I wanted to do the development program to really learn what section of corporate finance I match with. I’m super excited,” said Flaherty, who hopes to transition into a long-term role with the company after the two-year development program is complete. 

Flaherty, who completed his associate’s degree before transferring to UMass Lowell, graduated from the university’s Manning School of Business with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, earning a Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Academic Achievement. 

Lindsay Barrios of Lynn was hired as a social worker in the Methuen office of HopeWell Inc., a foster-care provider based in Dedham. She got the job two years ago, just two weeks after completing her bachelor’s degree in public health at UMass Lowell in 2017. Through the accelerated bachelor’s-to-master’s program, Barrios earned her master’s in public health this spring.

When seeking out universities as a high-school graduate, Barrios, a first-generation college student, was impressed with the diversity evident on UMass Lowell’s campus. 

“I gave it a chance and fell in love,” she said. “The professors were amazing. For me, it was the best thing I ever did.”

And she may not be done with school just yet. A new homeowner, Barrios is thinking about getting an advanced degree from UMass Lowell. 

“I feel like I’ve come this far; maybe I should go for my doctorate,” she said. 

Ian Connell of Norfolk didn’t need to look for a job while wrapping up an online bachelor of science in information technology through UMass Lowell; he already had an IT position with the town of Franklin.

“I work full time and have a family, so I liked the flexibility of doing my degree online,” said Connell, who earned an associate’s degree in IT at Bunker Hill Community College before transferring to UMass Lowell after he discovered it was one of the only schools in the area to offer an online bachelor’s degree in IT. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise,” Connell said, noting the convenience and flexibility of distance learning was one reason he is now pursuing a UMass Lowell master’s degree online in security studies.  

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe.